Thursday, November 1, 2007

biking to work


I ride my bike to work a couple of times a week, on the days when I don't have to drop off or pick up kids. It takes about 20 minutes with a few steep downhills and some up hills too so I get to work rosy cheeked and needing to change my shirt but not so sweaty I need a shower. My route starts with a big downhill that wakes me up then a small uphill enought that I have to pump my legs, then more zooming along with the view of the bay off in the distance. I feel like a kid, free. Sometimes I sing outloud.
My route takes me past Lake Temescal and often there are loud choruses of birds in certain bushes and then at one point a serene reflection of trees in the water. When I get to the frontage road there is a longish uphill stretch. From there I can see highway 24 just packed with cars. I feel so inconsequential pedaling my measly miles. Where are the other bike riders? When will this eight lanes of traffic be as empty as my frontage road is?
Sometimes a real bicyclist passes me. They are on their touring bikes resplendent in tight, bright spandex. They look amazing and go so fast but I feel virtuous with my pannier and work clothes. Hey, I'm going to work, I think to myself, not just on some bike ride for fun. I am NOT driving. But it's more than just not driving.
Unlike the car ride to work each bike ride feels like a unique journey. I'm aware of the weather and my mood in much more detail than in the box of the car. I feel my heart and legs pumping and know I have a body. I'm aware that I'm lucky to be able to do this, both healthy enough and living close enough to my job. So while on the outside I look like a middle aged mom puffing up a hill, on the inside I feel like a saint and a rebel and a wild kid all just from biking to work.

3 comments:

Elizabeth Blake said...

Your description is so vivid, great writing, and it reminds me of when I lived in Berkeley, back before you were born, and I would ride my bike to work at the University. Of course, back then, part of the reason I did that was because we couldn't afford two cars and I was a bit afraid of driving.

Sybil said...

This is exactly how I feel! Yay bikers, it is good for the soul. I go up Euclid and all those young men in their spandex pass me and I think, where are all the other 40-something women? Hell, 40-somethings period. I think we forget we have bodies for work; our bodies only come alive in the gym or the yoga studio, which we inevitably drive to after work. But I wish everyone could feel the goodness of their bodies the way I do on that hill. And then Lo, there you are on the other side of town, feeling those same sweet feelings.

leah k said...

yes, happy to think of us pedaling in tandem,as it were!